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Young and Restless in China News/Business. (2008) Nine young people coming of age in China are part of a generation torn between traditional culture and new choices. (CC) (Stereo)

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PBS

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02:00:00

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mpeg2video

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ac3

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704

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480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

China 40, Beijing 19, Chinese 7, U.s. 6, Shenzhen 5, Haiyan 5, New York 5, Guilin 4, Staffordshire 4, Jiang Ping 4, Ben Wu 3, Yang Haiyan 3, Zhanyan 3, Canada 3, Lu Dong 3, Pbs 3, Shanghai 3, Communist Party 3, Weimin 3, Xiaolei 2,
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  PBS    Frontline    Young and Restless in China  News/Business.  (2008) Nine  
   young people coming of age in China are part of a generation...  

    September 1, 2010
    2:20 - 4:20am EDT  

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>> frontline is made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. with major funding from the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. helping to build a more just world. and additional funding from the park foundation. committed to raising public awareness. major funding for this program is provided by:
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and additional funding from:vñ and others. >> ♪ hey, hey, hey... >> tonight on frontline, they are a new generation breakingét from tradition and transforming china. these are their stories. a business woman pressured to choose between motherhood and her career. >> ♪ hey, what's up, baby? >> an internet entrepreneurúl thirsting for a more spiritual life. and a young woman searching for the mother she barely remembers.
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they are the stories about love sacrifice, and the conflict between the past and the future. stories of a rap artist hustling for his big break. an idealistic business man struggling against everyday corruption. and a factory worker who defies her family and marries for love. these are the intimate stories of hope and disappointment from inside a society changing faster than any in history, stories of what it's like to be young and restless in china. # ( music playing ) ojvdxgâo8:,t%y ( music playing )
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>> narrator: china is a country of young people, and a new generation is coming of age. >> ( translated ): china is changing fast. everyone is restless. >> narrator: young people are driving china's blazing economy and grappling with huge challenges and change. >> ( translated ): my generation is confused. when i was a child, we needed ration tickets to buy things, like fabric and oil. since the 1990s, it is a totally
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different world. >> the spiritual side of china is changing from a very ideal world, from the maoism, you know, time-- serve the people and work for others-- to an extreme-- get rich as fast as you can and have a good life. >> narrator: in 2004, we began filming a group of young people from across the country. the surprising twists and turns of their lives and their stories of ambition, conflict, love and confusion took us inside the generation that is transforming china.
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>> i came back to china for only one reason, its opportunity. >> narrator: lu dong had just returned from a decade abroad.: 32 and single, he was working at a software start-up in the northern city of dalian. >> hisoft does software outsourcing. this is like the factory of engineers. what's amazing is we are doubling the size every half a year. i spent two months already. i'm going to spend another ten months here and invest my life here. you know, i love this place. this is our new building, 18th floor. it's going to be finished by november or december. i think this is like the symbol of the growing of china-- one floor every week.
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>> narrator: so many young people were coming back from abroad that the chinese nicknamed them "returning turtles." ben wu had also just come back to beijing, where he grew up. >> i have been away for over a decade in the u.s. and never worked in china before. so i want to learn how chinese conduct business, what's the best opportunity in what industry. from monday to friday i work for mckinsey consulting. and then starting from friday night to sunday afternoon i pretty much work the whole time for my internet cafe. >> narrator: ben was using what he learned at business school in new york to create a new franchise.
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>> this is our first internet café in beijing. it's named time square internet café. you know, we have a new york theme here, new york skyline. we are going to have about 300 computers in this 16,000 square feet. we are going to build a ufo-like structure. we are going to have a train coming out. and underneath there's going to be a lot of lights shooting up through the glass. internet café requires a lot of money. that's why me and my chinese partner have a set of american investors. this café is going to be our first of many. we want to build a starbucks, óñiófá
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>> narrator: china's booming economy offered so many possibilities that young people seemed to change jobs, cities and lifestyles barely skipping a beat. soon after we first filmed lu dong, he left the software company and moved home, also to beijing. qói >> ( translated ): i was born and raised in beijing.çó i feel like i'm finally home. i want to spend some time with my family. ( dog barking )
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>> let's talk... >> ( together ) ...in english. >> oh, my tooth. what's wrong? >> what's wrong? >> ( translated ): i actually liked hisoft very much, but what i really wanted to do was start my own business. >> so this is my business. ( laughs ) so basically what i'm going to do is tailor-make those shirts in china and sell it to people in japan and u.s. and europe. it's going to be on the web. these are samples. you can change all the elements-- shirts, color, copies, right? there's no physical shop. and here you measure your size, which is going directly to the factory. and you pick and choose. and a week, boom, you get it. and it's just this one piece just for you. you cannot find anywhere else. very unique, very creative, very fun. can you imagine this turning into a shirt? very nice.
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>> ( translated ): i work every single day. i'm spending my savings. i'm dripping my blood. i can only say it feels like riding a roller coaster. >> ♪ go, go, go... ( jazz music playing ) >> narrator: after months of living on caffeine and cigarettes, ben wu opened his internet café.
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>> café is doing very well. it's pretty much like what i estimated. i'm delivering good news to my investors. >> on a normal friday night, is this normally how crowded it is? >> yeah, this is very normal. >> we are making money. we are generating a lot of cash flow. >> we don't actually sell any of the computer equipment, do we? >> no, maybe that's another business you should do. >> and those free cash flow can be used for building up another internet café. >> narrator: in tiananmen square, in the heart of beijing,
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the countdown to the 2008 olympic games was under way. preparations dominated the city. thousands of migrant workers from the countryside were pouring into the capital looking for work. >> ( translated ): i always thought i'd spend all my life in my village. i never thought there was such a big world outside. >> narrator: wei zhanyan is a migrant worker in an industrial park near beijing. >> ( translated ): i got out just to work, to make money. it was like i had the mission of saving my whole family. >> narrator: zhanyan left school
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at 13, to earn money so her older brother could continue his studies. by 2004, she was working for a company that makes cell phones. the owners declined our request to film inside. >> ( translated ): the factory where i work, we wire headsets. the regular wage is about 40 cents an hour. >> narrator: jobs like hers offer millions of young people a way out of rural poverty. >> ( translated ): a job brings in money and gives me self- confidence. i rented this little place by
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myself. i feel like this is my home, where i am the boss and can do whatever i like after work, like listening to the radio or reading a book. >> narrator: migrant life was often lonely, and she poured out her feelings in a diary. >> ( translated ): "my family's poverty depresses me, makes me ashamed, even desperate. i don't dare have any ideas or ideals." i have always wondered how come other families, other parents, could support their kids' education. but not mine. ( crying )
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sorry. perhaps i shouldn't have said that. it sounds like i am blaming my parents for not living up to their responsibilities. but that's past. >> narrator: although hundreds of miles away from them, she was still not free of her family's demands. >> ( translated ): i got a phone call from my family saying that a matchmaker wanted me to meet this guy. back home they have this long feudal tradition. so i went back. i didn't have a choice. the guy and i, we met and got engaged, just like that. i was very confused.
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i mean, i like to be free and independent. but once we get married, i'm not sure what will happen. >> ♪ hey, hey, hey, hey. hey, hey, hey, hey. ♪ hey, hey, hey, hey... >> narrator: seen from the streets the new china is an unforgiving place. ♪ ...what's up, baby? >> narrator: rapper wang xiaolei uses his music to express a dark view of china's new boom times.
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>> ( translated ): there's actually a lot of discrimination in china. like, if you don't have money people will look down on you, and also because of your social status. when i was very young, my folks divorced, and then i was all by myself. i mean, i grew up with my grandpa until i was 14. he had no money. i was mostly living with my grandpa because i really didn't get along with my dad. my father, my mother, both useless. i started hanging out as a street performer. it's the only way of life i knew. life is bad. how come my life sucks? then i heard about hip-hop and watched some hip-hop movies and
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stuff. there was some really good stuff. hip-hop empowered me because i can identify with some of those black people in america. we don't have a good life, but we have to stay optimistic. ( singing along with rap music playing ) >> narrator: xiaolei identifies with african american culture, but his lyrics draw on what he knows best: the world he sees around him, his relationships, and ancient chinese myth. >> ( translated ): this is yingliu, an ancient goddess. she could sing and was very beautiful. everyone loved to hear her sing. it's a fairy tale. this is the word "reckless." i think this character is pretty
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cool because it's chinese. i've always felt that it's better than having an english word tattooed. >> narrator: xiaolei was starting to build a fan base. he was scraping by, working as a dj in one of beijing's few hip- hop clubs. >> ( translated ): i don't make enough money. just enough for me to eat. i need a big house, and then i can make music on my own. live in a big house and have enough to eat.
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my house is small. big house. small, small. this is what i live in every day. it makes me crazy. and the roof leaks. ( music playing ) >> narrator: when we returned to beijing in 2005, preparations for the olympics were
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accelerating. parks were being paved over, entire neighborhoods torn down. one and a half million residents were being forced to move. we met zhang jingjing, a public interest lawyer trying to make the upheaval more humane. in a case representing more than 1,000 families, she was suing two city agencies over a power line built for the games. >> ( translated ): the power line belongs to beijing electric. there was no environmental appraisal before it was built. that's required by law. and residents in the area really resented it.
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they were very worried about the effect of the electromagnetic radiation on their health. >> narrator: the residents are part of china's increasingly vocal, new middle class.
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>> ( translated ): we know the potential medical risks of electromagnetic radiation are still being studied. we didn't sue about the pollution itself.
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we targeted an illegitimate licensing procedure. we sued because we believe that people come first. we were trying to convey this concept through this case. the neglect of personal rights in china has been long and overwhelming. >> narrator: like many of her generation, jingjing's world view was shaped by events in tiananmen square almost 20 years ago. >> ( translated ): i graduated in 1991. those were the years that many chinese people still remember but don't dare talk about. that was the student movement in the late '80s.
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i was in college then. i experienced a movement i'll never forget. we had only one goal: for reforms that would make our nation a better place. but what happened later, the students didn't have the experience and couldn't see how it would end. ♪ i'm still influenced by that movement. it's why i'm working as a public interest lawyer.
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>> narrator: most other young people drew different lessons from the tragedy. >> ( translated ): right after the june 4 incident they started arresting people. i knew some of them personally. politically, it affected my generation tremendously. after the june 4 incident, i decided to move to shenzhen. there was only one reason: i decided that politics is quite a risky and scary business. it would be better for me to distance myself from it. >> narrator: in the years since,
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xu weimin tried different jobs here in the southern boomtown of shenzhen. he worked and studied in canada and the u.s. now in his late 30s, he was building a hotel. >> i need to have something tangible, something we can build year by year, a steady business. we feel if we can provide high- quality service with four-star facilities, we shouldn't have any problem getting business. i actually have no experience of running a hotel. from the start, when i knew nothing, to now, i've had to deal with every single detail. we've hired about ten people.
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and they're all crazy busy. it's very stressful. >> narrator: on top of his job, weimin had new responsibilities: taking care of his parents. >> ( translated ): a little over a month ago, my mom had a stroke. she was a manager at her old factory, but the factory was privatized. so she lost her insurance. that's very common in china these days. >> ( translated ): so it's the kids, in this case, my sister and i, who have to shoulder the cost.
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so far we have spent almost $6,000. but the thing is, there'll be a lot more to come. because the biggest problem is we have no idea when she'll get better, and this kind of illness is pretty expensive. >> narrator: in the country's new mixed economy, nearly 70% of chinese have no medical insurance. zhang yao was a medical resident at a prestigious beijing hospital. on his way to work, so many people were desperate for care that he could barely make his way inside.
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>> narrator: zhang yao's father is a traditional chinese doctor. yao has chosen a completely western training. >> ( translated ): i like working with people. so when i see my patients getting very ill, or when somebody dies, it hurts. it's hard for me, too. i tell myself the principals of medical science are: cure sometimes, relieve often, comfort always.
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so maybe you cannot cure a patient, but you can always make his life more comfortable. >> ( translated ): we see it all the time, patients who can't afford big medical expenses. seeing a patient with financial difficulties is a very, very sad experience. you have to make a very hard choice.
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if a patient really can't afford treatment and is in the mid- or late stages of their diseases, we need to think about palliative care. in cases like that, i think we should do our best to save the family's resources. ( music playing ) >> narrator: despite mass migration to the cities, more than half of china's population still live in the countryside.
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>> ( translated ): about this time every year, i come back to help father harvest the rice. >> narrator: the options for young people in rural guangxi province are so limited that few choose to stay. >> ( translated ): i like it here. if everyone goes to work outside and no one works in the fields, then what will people eat? people in the outside world have food because we farmers work hard to grow rice. but my husband doesn't like me coming back here. i get too tanned. he says it doesn't look pretty.
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>> narrator: like many women, yang haiyan had to leave school to support her brother's education. she went to work in the city of guilin, a two-hour drive away. there she met her husband. now she stays at home, looking after their son. >> ( translated ): my grandpa is getting so old now. my dad, too. there is no one at home who can do laundry. every holiday i take all the clothes, sheets, shoes, comforter, wash them really clean and store them away. and then i go back to guilin.
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>> narrator: yang haiyan's life has been defined by her mother's disappearance 18 years ago. >> ( translated ): when i was very little, about two, my mother was doing part-time work in guilin, and she was tricked. this human trafficker asked her to go to a cotton factory in the north, saying it had better pay. and she was kidnapped and sold. because of what happened to my mom there was a lot of gossip in the village. people don't want my mom back. to them, this is a huge disgrace.
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it's like the saying: "children without a mother have to grow up fast." áu >> ( translated ): i have a dream. it's to find mom and bring her back. j once i get her back, i'll never let her leave again.
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>> narrator: we returned to china in 2006, and found many of the group caught up in personal crises. after stalling for months, factory worker wei zhanyan was going home to face her family and her future husband. >> ( translated ): i don't want to go home. i'm afraid of marriage. i'm afraid of going back to those old traditions. ( music playing )
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my dad is a farmer. my older brother is, too. and when there isn't a lot of farm work, he leaves and becomes a migrant worker like me. >> ( translated ): all the marriages in the village are arranged. after the marriage is arranged, you can't change your mind. it has a bad effect. here in the countryside, you
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can't go back on your word. >> ( translated ): they told me about zhanyan and then we met and we sat and talked.
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>> ( translated ): we chatted >> ( translated ): we chatted about our families and our jobs as migrant workers. after we talked, the matchmaker came and asked whether we could accept each other. and both of us said, "yes." >> how long was it, when you first saw her until the matchmaker came in? >> ( translated ): uh, maybe a couple of hours.
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>> ( translated ): it's not easy for us to communicate. i don't want to get married. >> ( translated ): how did you feel when you heard she was having second thoughts? >> ( translated ): i was a little angry. she'd agreed to it. if word got out, it would be bad, everyone would know. >> ( translated ): did you ever think that maybe she wouldn't be happy after you guys got married? >> ( translated ): i don't know how to answer that question. >> ( translated ): have you ever thought about whether you would be happy? >> ( translated ): nope. never thought about it.
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>> ( translated ): by country standards she's not young anymore. she should really think it over. if this isn't the right man, then who is? can you find the person of your dreams in real life? there is a huge difference between dreams and reality. >> ( translated ): it'll be hard for me to break off the engagement now. i don't want to hurt too many people. i'm kind of at a loss, don't know what to do.
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>> narrator: the tensions between traditional values and new expectations seemed to trouble everyone. miranda hong earned her mba just months ago from one of the country's top business schools in shanghai. >> ( translated ): a woman who studies for an mba has to excel. in interviews some companies ask you very directly, "how soon are you going to have a child?" this kind of question ought to be illegal, and it is. but that's reality. >> narrator: she was now working in beijing, in the advertising department of an investment company.
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>> ( translated ): when i graduated i had to decide whether to stay in shanghai or come back to beijing. my parents and my husband all live in beijing. there were better opportunities in shanghai, but i decided to come back to beijing.
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my parents are pretty old, and i feel responsible for them. my relationship with my mother is more one of duty. as a matter of fact, i have always been a bit afraid of her. but it's not because i admire her. it is because of her temper. i don't know when it will erupt. with my father, it's kind of special. the person i admire most in the world is my father.
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my parents are not very direct. so when it comes to children they would like me to have them sooner rather than later. but they won't nag about it day and night like other parents. in fact, they've never talked about it with me. they might, however, tell my relatives, and then my relatives will tell me what my mom thinks.
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>> ( translated ): many women put their family first. but for me, my work is number one. >> narrator: jingjing was planning to get married soon to her college boyfriend. >> ( translated ): my fiancé isn't often in beijing. so i have more freedom to work. he's very supportive.
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cc that's why i think marriag may be important.
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i have to visit them often. i married my present wife at the beginning of last year. in the spring we had a baby. now they are both in beijing. and my parents, my little sister and my grandma are all in shenzhen. so my life has to be divided between these three cities. i care about each one of them. >> narrator: weimin and the other entrepreneurs were also confronting the tough realities of doing business in china. >> ( translated ): those of us who have been abroad for a while are very sensitive to things like bribery and corruption. but to most chinese there is actually no clear definition. corruption is deeply rooted in
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the culture. >> ( translated ): if you use western values to judge chinese or chinese companies' behavior, i think most of the time it's very hard to do business with them. >> i have a lot of headaches with local officials.uñi they have no interest in either helping me or not helping me. helping me, they're not going to get anything. not helping me, they're not going to hurt themselves. so... and because they have no interest, i can't figure out a way to influence them. >> ( translated ): dealing with these people is a process where you turn yourself from a total stranger into an acquaintance or close friend. during that process you definitely have to spend money.
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>> ( translated ): i will not bribe officials. however, that's sort of washing my hands clean, okay? but however, i don't think... in order to get something done, i don't think i can stop my chinese partner to do something. >> ( translated ): tons of people have power over you. to run this hotel there are at least seven or eight agencies. if someone says we failed sanitation standards, what do you do?
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it might be quite simple. you can take care of it by paying for a dinner or something worth a couple of thousand. this is a huge challenge to everyone doing business in china. even i don't know if i can stick to my principles. >> ( translated ): there is nothing you can do. fish have to live in water. if the water isn't clean, you have to get used to it. >> it's against my moral standard. so every day i have to make aya choice, how far i want to go. you know, the thing i'm really afraid of is, down the road, i will no longer have this
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struggle every day. >> narrator: since his return to china, ben has also struggled with family issues. >> i do feel more like at home. but sometimes i also get confused because i miss my family. i have been separated with my wife for a year. she's in u.s. studying for her accounting degree. my wife, my parents, my brother, they're all in the states, and i'm here all by myself. so... so sometime i don't know where is my home? you know, sometimes when i'm
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really tired i just ask myself, "what am i doing here?" i should just get on a flight and go to new york and be with my wife, at least for a weekend# i mean, my café is not going to go bankrupt over the weekend, right? so why am i worried? you know, i ask myself the question. i can't answer that question. >> ( translated ): i met this girl on the internet.
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she was a friend of a friend. she really liked hip-pop, and so did i. we began to chat online and we really clicked. and i was very lonely and needed somebody to talk to. so i said, "why don't you come to beijing and stay with me?" she seemed into it. she said she was short of money or something, and i lent her all the money i had. but for some reason or other she never showed up.
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then it dawned on me that i must have been had. i have been questioning myself ever since. >> narrator: jingjing was in new york for a meeting of environmental lawyers. but for once she seemed more focused on her personal life than her work. >> ( translated ): i've been through a difficult time. my fiancé and i are both very, very busy.
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actually, i focused more on my work than my relationship, and it faded. he gave up. i could feel it. his heart wasn't here anymore. there were new temptations, probably a better woman than me. i felt like i was the one who always blamed or criticized him. but the other woman flattered and admired him. he said it first: "let's just end it." i tried really hard to get him
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back, but i just couldn't. pçi? "#ñ >> ( translated ): there's a social problem in china. many girls only believe in money. they think they have to marry someone rich. i know a lot of girls, and i asked them, "do you still believe in love?" they're like, "no, i only believe in money." this has made me really depressed. >> ( translated ): in today's society, we don't have standards for right and wrong.
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for example, we often say that a man can't be defined as successful if he doesn't have several lovers. it's really hard for a professional woman to balance her career and her relationship. ♪iu >> damn, all right. >> hey, coco. ( translated ): i still haven't found a girlfriend. one reason is because i've been very busy.9( another reason is because values have changed greatly in china.
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i've always wanted to search for the meaning of life and universal truths. at first i thought because religion was something far beyond science and my education i couldn't understand it. but as i get into it deeper, i find that the bible and christ have all the answers i've been searching for. after being baptized, i no longer feel lonely. >> ( translated ): last year i felt really conflicted.
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i still do. >> narrator: miranda's job advertising mutual funds has put her in the heart of china's booming stock market. >> ( translated ): it's because the mutual fund business is seeping into ordinary people's lives. >> ( translated ): but they don't understand economics, much less mutual funds. the money is to support them in their old age. chinese call it "life support." i think we should warn them they might lose their money.
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i don't want to package a product just for a quick profit, product just for a quick profit, which results in them losing-o/ money.qu i really can't do that.$e3'ió$v >> narrator: tensions at work have spilled over into her marriage.oîtii?7 >> ( translated ): my husband and i have big fights. when he doesn't see results, like i'm not promoted or getting a raise, he says something. about three months ago, when we were having the same argument again for the same reasons, he
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said that if i wasn't doing well at work, he felt very guilty because i chose to come back to beijing just because of him. when he said that, i felt he really does care about me. because he knows that i am not a housewife, that i will never be a housewife; although i would very much like to be, i will never be able to do it. >> ( translated ): i made an important decision. i cancelled my engagement. i called my father many times about breaking if off.
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eventually he said, "if you think it'll be better for you, then do what you want." it's been a while now.k3 ( laughter ) i met jiang ping through a friend. we started sending text messages. we felt we could talk to each other.
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the first time he visited he said it was to go to the factory to find a job.3x i wasn't sure what was more important to him, to see me oryu find a job. that was the first time we met. i think maybe both were important to him.
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jiang ping is very thoughtful. he's very good at taking care of others. we've told our parents. his parents approve, and so does my father. though jiang ping doesn't know a whole lot, he still knows more than me. the most important thing is he likes me and cherishes me. gç÷i >> ( translated ): i was hanging out with some friends, and i
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liked her the minute i laid eyes on her. i got her cell phone number from friends. i sent her a text message. that's how it started. she is still a medical student. she'll graduate this august in ophthalmology. she's very good with her hands, so she'll be a very good eye doctor. in chinese culture, proposing isn't always necessary, but i wanted to give her a nice surprise.
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we usually sit in the same seats at mcdonald's. while we were eating there one evening, i took out a diamond ring and gave it to her. she was very happy. i love her more than i love myself. >> narrator: yang haiyan and her husband have tracked her mother down to a small village more than 1,000 miles to the north. >> narrator: now, after months of discussion, they have decided to go and bring her home.
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>> narrator: haiyan's mother
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told us the story of her abduction 18 years earlier, how she was trafficked and sold to a farmer named zhu. >> ( translated ): when i first got here i went through hell. when i saw other people's children i'd think of haiyan. i was, like, crazy. i said i wanted to go home. the guy zhu said, "i paid that woman 2,000 for you. you're never going home." >> narrator: haiyan was hearing details of her mother's story for the first time. >> ( translated ): when i first moved into his family i could see the sun.
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we lived at the other side of the sun. so i ran towards the sun. i ran and ran and ran until i couldn't see the sun anymore. they all went to hunt for me. when they found me they brought me back and hung me up, hung me up and beat me. the guy's mother said, "you don't have to beat her. she's pregnant." i had a daughter. she's very sweet. every time i talked about going home she would cry. she said, "mom, please don't go. please wait until i leave school." >> narrator: she waited for years. then she fled to a family in the
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next village who she thought would not mistreat her. she now works for mr. lu, looking after his grandson, cooking, cleaning and sleeping with him. >> ( translated ): i want to go home. i know that my mom and my dad are getting old and there is no daughter around to take care of them. >> ( translated ): then why don't you go? >> ( translated ): he won't give me money. i can't make it back by myself. >> ( translated ): it's because this mr. lu won't give her money to go home. >> ( translated ): he told me not to go back. he won't give me money. he's afraid i won't come back. >> ( translated ): if haiyan gives you the money, will you go back then? >> ( translated ): of course. i want to go back.
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>> narrator: by the next morning haiyan's hopes were fading. her mother had changed her mind.
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>> ( translated ): so you're a little disappointed with this trip? >> ( translated ): a little bit, yes. i was really hoping she would come back with me. this morning my mom called me to her room. she said, "haiyan, i want to go home with you." so i said, "why don't you tell the man this and come back with me?" she said, "if i leave this poor
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baby will be very miserable." i said, "you want to come with me, but at the same time you can't let go of this place." she's full of contradictions. she doesn't know what to do. she said she probably won't come home until she's 60. i said, "if you come back, as long as i am in guilin, i will share whatever i have with you." >> ( translated ): what did she say when you told her this? >> she said she was very happy. she said at least she has me to depend on. in other words, she finally had a sense of home.
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♪ >> narrator: by 2007, almost all of beijing's old neighborhoods were gone. entire new business districts had sprung up in just months.
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the city looked almost ready for the olympics, china's global coming-out party. jingjing and the residents had lost the power line case. but new cases were pouring in, bringing her unwanted attention from the authorities. >> ( translated ): many officials feel that if you sue the government, you must oppose it, so i'll give you a hard time. i'm a little concerned.
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our purpose isn't to oppose the government, but to bring lawsuits in the public interest. so far we haven't had any direct threats. but when i go to a small city or county seat to represent poor villagers, i can feel that i'm not welcome, and i know my whereabouts, my phone number, are all monitored. as the chinese economy grows and industry expands from the coast to the west, no village is being spared.
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this case involves the dabaoshan mine in shaoguan. >> narrator: shaoguan is a mining town in southern china. most of the companies here, like this smelter and dabaoshan mining, are owned by the government, making this another difficult and sensitive case. >> ( translated ): dabaoshan has built mines, dumping red clay and other toxins into the river. >> narrator: jingjing has a surprising ally in the local communist party secretary, the spokesman for the villagers. >> ( translated ): all the crops are down, especially peanuts.
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there is absolutely no way for you to grow peanuts. >> ( translated ): our fish ponds, 160 of them, none can be farmed. we've lost all our fish ponds. >> ( translated ): no local buyers want our stuff. they say, "your vegetables are poisoned." so what do we do? we use those small peddlers. and through them we sell to guangdong and hunan or fujian provinces. >> ( translated ): our wells are connected to the river. so we are drinking the polluted water.
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>> ( translated ): every year about 40% or even 50% of those who die, die of cancer. this is a list of deaths in the last two years. talking of a cancer village, we are becoming one. most cancer patients need more than $2,500 for treatment. those who don't have the money just die. i took the villagers to the dabaoshan mining company and stayed for a whole day. the company said, "okay, okay, okay, we'll give you 600 to solve the drinking water problem." but the town government kept the money for themselves.
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we didn't get one penny. although i am a communist party secretary and a party member, i still say that some of those local government officials are really a disaster for the people. >> ( translated ): the villagers have a sense of how difficult it's going to be to get money from a state-owned company. because they've been asking for 30 years. i really can't say how confident we are about winning. i'll do all i can to help them win damages, and even more importantly to get dabaoshan
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mining to clean up the pollution. >> ( translated ): i am still working as a dj. i moved to a bigger club. ♪
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and i am with a lot of rappers who also want to make music. we started as a group. ♪ and then you want to show me... ♪ ( translated ): and then gradually we wanted to start an indie label because we made so many records in the last year. ♪ to be honest, i barely made any progress this last year because i was trapped in that... that abyss.
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( laughter ) my parents have been saying stuff like, "you should give up your dream." and they asked for forgiveness for the way they treated me when i was little. they said, "if you come back, we will find you a stable job, buy you a house, help you find a wife." but i said no. i feel i've put in so much, i have to get results. >> come buy the ticket and come see the show, man. don't miss the show. >> ( translated ): i'm too
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embarrassed to go home right now. honestly, because of the internet love story, i feel very childish. >> narrator: in shenzhen, weimin's hotel business was taking off. >> it's quite different from last year. it's the lobby. reception. ( translated ): we are doing exceptionally well. we have a nearly 90% occupancy rate.
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we have already located our second hotel, and we are going to start remodeling right away. my son is growing fast, very fast. he just had his second birthday. my wife is pregnant again. >> narrator: in shenzhen, the penalty for violating the one- child policy can be as high as $95,000. >> ( translated ): we will probably go to canada or the u.s., or somewhere, to have the baby. because years ago i emigrated to canada, i have a foreign residency there. if she goes somewhere else to have the baby, it definitely
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will not have chinese citizenship. >> narrator: lu dong's company now had ten employees. beyond tailors. yeah! last year there was nothing, absolutely nothing. i was sitting in the bedroom... living room with my mom. but now there's a label, there's people working and there's customers happy. i just feel so excited, you know? china, last year, there were 900 million shirts sold. so, just think. they're all made in this kind of factory, one by one-- 900 million. so if i just get 1% of the market...( laughs )
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...nine million shirts. one million per shirt, that's 900 million rmb. ( laughs ) ah, the land of opportunity. >> narrator: ben wu had left his $100,000 a year consulting job and joined lenovo, china's largest computer maker. >> this job from lenovo came along and i thought i could learn more from this job instead of staying in mckinsey for another year. the chairman, he has two assistants. my job is to follow him around.
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and because he travels so much, so, it ends up just myself being with him all the time. typically i spend a week in china, spend a week in u.s., spend a week in europe every month. my job is like dealing with ten things at any minute. if you just look at the lifestyle, no one can really tolerate this, you know? so you just have to evaluate whether the positive outweighs the negative.
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the internet café is going well. as a matter of fact, it's becoming the number-one café in beijing. so we just did the second one. and we have a plan to do another three by the end of this year. i'm hoping my wife will come back, that she will stay here with me finally, and we will have a family here. so, after three years apart, i think that's enough for both of us. it is a miracle. ( laughs ) you know, we were married for ten years. and i think we were married for so long, the opportunity cost is so high it wouldn't be if we leave each other, so...
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>> narrator: in spite of her concerns, miranda decided to stay at the mutual fund company. she hoped her work in advertising would help people realize the risks of investing. >> ( translated ): what we're doing now is teaching concepts of financial planning so they can keep their standard of living when they retire. that's why i stay. it will actually solve an important social issue.
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>> narrator: she and her husband were buying a new, larger apartment. >> ( translated ): the idea of having a baby has been troubling me the last couple of years. i've never been troubled by any other question for so long. my parents, my parents-in-law and my husband all really want one. but i want to follow my heart. there are still a lot of things in my career that i really want to do.
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>> narrator: haiyan has decided to leave her family and become a migrant worker, just as her mother did when haiyan was small. >> ( translated ): when my baby is a little older, i plan to have his grandparents take care of him and i'll go to work in guangdong. if we miss each other, i'll come back often. if not, we can phone. there are probably many ways we can make phone calls or go to the internet.
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if i had a job, i'd feel more secure. i wouldn't be home all day. i wouldn't be frustrated or bored. anyway, i'd be happy if i could find a good job. >> narrator: after four years, zhanyan's job was wearing her down. >> ( translated ): the factory is very busy. our daily quota has been set high, so i have to work overtime, 11 hours a day. we work weekends. we have no saturdays or sundays, no weekends. i mainly do headphone wires. there's a metallic mold and you put in four wires at a time.
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our quota is 600 wires an hour. we have to do 6,200 a day. i don't have time to think. actually, it's very tiring. i live like a machine. i have to be realistic and find happiness from the small things in life. when i'm with jiang ping, we share our happiness and sadness.
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and we care about each other. i just want us to work together and try to build something better. >> narrator: as we ended four years of filming, many in the group were still restless, rethinking their lives, their ambitions and values. >> ( translated ): china has a survey called the "happiness index." in china, the happiness index is
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practical. it has nothing to do with the relationship between individual and society. when chinese talk about happiness, it's about whether they can afford the things they want to buy, the housing they want, and if they like the work they do. it's a practical happiness. >> ( translated ): china now is a country with no beliefs, and there are no role models. all the models are materialistic. china's been poor for a long time. it's like a kid from a poor family goes into a candy store.
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he's been hungry for a long time and he'll grab a lot of candy. even if he has filled his pockets and mouth, he still wants more. but when a rich kid who has candy all the time comes in, he only takes what he wants. he'll be satisfied. so, chinese are very hungry now, and hard to satisfy. >> ( translated ): if you only focus on making money, you'll lose other things. so i feel my thinking is changing. many of my friends are searching for a sense of spiritual belonging. >> ( translated ): the water is
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still dirty. what i can do is to make the water in my company clean, possibly very clean. although when i deal with the outside world i still have to do business the way others do. that's another reason i became a christian. being a christian seems to put a filter on my face, and i can breathe through the filter every day. >> internet café is something i'm doing for the sake of making money. do i think i'm going to be in the internet café business for the rest of my life? no. i do have one business i really, really want to do.
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it's in renewable energy. my father's expertise is in solar cell, like a very thin sheet of paper. and then you stick it on the wall, on your windows, it will generate electricity. i want to build a factory producing these solar cells in china, and sell them to the worldwide market. it's not about making money or making more money. i think it's i want to do something that is socially responsible; that creates social benefit. >> ( translated ): as a doctor in a very large hospital, i feel an obligation to do some public
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health work. i am thinking about a rotation program. maybe residents in large hospitals could provide training in rural ones. it's easy to train a doctor, or even a layperson, how to deal with hypertension, diabetes and other common diseases. i'm very ambitious. working in a small clinic doesn't mean your ideas are restricted by it. maybe working in a small clinic gives you more time to think about bigger ideas.
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>> ( translated ): i hope what we are doing is like kindling a fire. we can inspire other lawyers and pollution victims, and in turn protect our environment and natural resources. it would be best, of course, if i can meet mr. right. if not, well, i feel that society today allows us a lot of space. i don't feel it's necessarily bad to live alone. this job is my dream and my purpose in life. it's who i am. if i gave it up, i wouldn't be me anymore. >> ( spoken in english ): ♪ hey,
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what's up? party. what's up... ♪zv ( translated ): when i was young, my dream was to become a rapper. i wanted to stand on stage in front of thousands of people and be a star. i worked hard, and i succeeded. i have about 20,000 fans now. i want to be the head of a record company, and it won't be long before i get there. i firmly believe that if you work hard, your dream will come true. ♪
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a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. i am a grown-up now. after all, i'm 24. ( spoken in english ): everybody in the house. ( translated ): what i am doing now is building for tomorrow. that's all. ( spoken in english ): put your hands in the air. okay, now, now... >> at frontline's web site, there's much more about the generation coming of age in china today. watch the program again online,
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find updates on the characters portrayed... >> my family? they're all in the states, so sometime i don't know where is my home. >> ...and read an interview with producer sue williams about how she met these young people... >> this is like the symbol of china-- one floor every week. >> ...the surprising details about their lives, and what it was like making the film... >> ( speaking chinese ) >> ...plus a roundtable with experts on what they're seeing in china's extraordinary transformation. and more about the music in the film. then join the discussion at pbs.org. >> next time on frontline world... in china... >> i see a lot of communist party members becoming
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christians. >> communists for jesus? >> they need to satisfy the spiritual hunger in their heart. >> these stories, and more, on the next frontline world. >> educators and educational institutions can purchase this program on dvd. to order call pbs video at 1-800-playpbs. or visit shoppbs.org. >> frontline is made possible by contributions to your pbs
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station from viewers like you. thank you. with major funding from the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. helping to build a more just world. and additional funding from the park foundation. major funding for this program is provided by: and additional funding from: and others.
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captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> this is pbs.
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yeah, i just want to-- as you can see, it's a part renovation project, and i just want to really see whether it's worth pursuing or i chop it into firewood, really. you have got quite a big job on your hands. first of all, is this the only one? no. it's part of a three-piece suite. so you've got a pair of these and a sofa. - yes, that's right. - this is an edwardian parlor suite. or it was an edwardian parlor suite. there's quite a lot to be done. what makes it nice is that you've got a really nice basic shape. you've got some inlay here-- mahogany shell wood-- but a big restoration to do. i think in my opinion - it's worth doing. - right. it depends on the size of your checkbook. - right. - how much are you prepared to spend?
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around about £300 or 400, going up to about £1,000. i think it's optimistic at a thousand. done beautifully, by somebody who knows what they're doing, when it's done it's worth £2,500 to 3,000. right. oh, that's not bad. not bad at all. - bonfire? no. - ( laughs ) okay, then i'll have to look around. to look at something antique that belongs to the deep grass or the woodlands. what have you brought in here? - this is a man-trap. - wow. this is a man-trap. it weighs a ton. it's really a trap for animals, primarily. because this is known as the baiting plate. and the holes? these are just old bits of iron that they used. these holes don't mean anything. you don't think it might be to tie down the bait?
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well... big chunk of meat, tie it down, so of course when it springs... if it'd been a man-trap, they wouldn't have come for meat. quite honestly, i think its specific purpose was to catch large animals but it also acted as a deterrent for men. - mm-hmm. - and i'm sure somebody would have put some sort of sign up if they'd actually had them, because these could obviously kill. - oh, yes. - presumably, we push these two brackets down... - and slide this forward. - ...slide these to stop it swinging back, and then you click it into that little-- yeah, if you open this over, then it goes in here, and then you lift up this plate a wee bit. so as soon as the animal comes along, puts its face... bang. it's a pretty cool thing, isn't it? i tried it with a fence stake, and it broke the stake. - you tried it with a piece of steak? - no a stake, a fence stake. oh, a stake. i thought you meant a piece of meat. - oh, no. oh, no. - what happened?
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it broke the stake. i'm glad to say they were banned in 1827. 1827? i didn't know that. so they really are relegated to history. obviously totally illegal. and the place for these is on the pub wall, isn't it? or on the wall of an old barn or something. can i squeeze it out of you what you paid for it? oh, yes, i think so. a thousand. £1,000? and you've painted it up? - yes, it was a terrible state. - yeah yeah yeah. and i sandpapered it and gave it a bit of cleanup. it's an absolute beauty. i think quite frankly you've paid about what it is worth. - mm-hmm. - i think, you know, if i had one-- and it is signed, though honestly i can't really make out-- no, i cannot make that out either. it's a great conversation piece, and if you're into man-traps and beast traps, this is the king of the range. thank you very much. thank you. made in staffordshire round about 1880. we see hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of these all of the time.
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nice things-- comforter dogs. they sat on welsh dressers. um, not particularly rare. but this piece here, i want to know where he came from. well, as far as i know, they come through the wife's side of the family. - and these come from? - my mother's side of the family. - you married the right woman. - did i? well, i've done very well. well, he's a crafts champion. look at him. - isn't he fantastic? - well, we've never really thought of what it was. we actually had it on the telephone table, ld to put it away safely. well, you haven't got the other one, i don't suppose? - no, we haven't. - that is a shame. the size, for a start-- he's a fabulous size. in staffordshire, you do see larger staffordshire dogs than these. seldom do you see anything on this scale. the colors of the glazes... i mean, it's a brown lead glaze, and this tortoiseshell mottling on the bottom
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is really very attractive. the important thing about him, of course, is where he comes from. i don't know. he's a scottish one. he is a scottish dog. a possibility. i don't think there's any sign of a factory mark. there very seldom is on spaniels like this, or i think they're-- i think they're sometimes known up here as... is it "wooly dogs"? is that right? - wally dogs. - ah, a wally dog. a wally dog. do you call him a wally dog? no, not that one, but we call these wally dogs, i think because they're just put on the wall, on the mantelpiece. - i think that's how they-- - is that where it comes from? - i think that's it. - it's not because it's a wooly dog? no. not that i know of, anyway. hairy, i suppose. um, date for this-- it's very similar, actually, to these staffordshire ones. so it's the second half of the 19th century. and they continued making them actually into the 20th century.
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i just think he's magnificent. he's just so much away from the usual. haven't had a valuation ever done on these? well, there was one chap did offer us £200. he didn't? if he had offered you £200 for that, you should've taken it like a shot. this one, if he'd offered you... £800, it still wouldn't be enough. a single one of these at auction would be somewhere around£1,200. - gee whiz. - it's a very good thing. sure it is. ( chuckles ) brushes. any significance in the brushes? well, i happen to know that the brushes belonged to l.s. lowry. - fascinating. - yeah. and my parents were friends of lowry's. it was a friendship that was established in the 1960s and went on until his death in 1976.
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and i don't know the circumstances for the brushes being handed over, but they were given to my father. well, i think this is absolutely remarkable, here in rochdale and almost in lowry territory, that we should be handling the tools of one of the modern masters of british painting in the 20th century. they're remarkable tactile objects, aren't they? and also you sort of almost feel there's an almost organic quality, as if it's an extension of the artist himself. - it's a link between the artist-- - very much so. it's the way the paint goes all the way down to the bottom. the value of these objects-- it's a very difficult one to speculate on, to be honest with you. to someone who's an avid collector of lowry, someone who wants to possess not only his paintings but the tools of his trade, a broad estimate and a comfortable estimate
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would probably be somewhere in the region of £500 to 1,000. - all right. i had no idea... - somewhere in between. - no idea of that. - they're very beautiful. they're just lovely instruments of his trade, and it's a thrill to see them. - and it's a good job they were never cleaned. - indeed. - i certainly have, yes. - have you been looking after it for long? - well, i dropped it in the bedroom this morning, - oh no! and my wife wasn't too pleased about it. - she was a bit annoyed with you, was she? - she was slightly annoyed. - do you know anything about it? - i know nothing at all about it. it's a lovely little coach and horses. and let's have a look at the underside here. okay, well, we got all the marks here. we got the mark for w. goebel. he's the manufacturer. - and the v mark from west germany. - yes. and we've got the date, 1952. it's not a model number, but that's the date of manufacture. and it's manufactured by-- there's a hummel figure.
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can you see? we've just got hummel here. - oh, yeah. i didn't even see that. - didn't even see it. i didn't notice that. no no, i didn't see that at all. these things are really really collectible. - they are? - yeah. well, it's not mine. it's my mother-in-law's. - ah. - so it's... are you interested in the value at all? yeah, i'd like to know the value for insurance purposes. - for insurance? - yeah. - it's a model i've never seen before. - you've never? i've never seen before. so i'm taking a punt at £500. - bit of a shock? - slightly, yes. have to load the money in here and gallop off back into central rochdale with it.